Securing Data in The Cloud

I just found an interesting article about securing your data in the cloud. Now that cloud computing has gained quite a number of followers, it will be good to understand the additional necessary steps to ensure your confidential data are secured in a cloud computing environment.

The original article can be found here.

Storing data in the cloud is arguably the most important aspect of public cloud resources, but it is rarely treated as such. Two practical steps to take when securing cloud data are:

  • Protect your data in a real world environment.
  • Meet compliance requirements.

What are the issues?
There are two primary issues that we have to deal with when talking about data security in a public cloud:

  • Protection of the data: Dealing with the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) criteria. Answering the important questions, such as, “What is the risk to the data? Are the controls in place adequate to mitigate the risk?”
  • Location of the data: Dealing with the physical location of the “bits” and answering questions like, “Do I know where the data resides? Does this violate any of my compliance requirements?”

Location is often doubly important because we do not think about it; it may easily slip by unnoticed and have significant impact if a data loss ever occurs.

An example is the conflict between the U.S. Patriot Act and Canadian laws on the privacy of certain personal information. The U.S. government says if there is a compelling reason, they are able to see data in their jurisdiction. Canadian laws say that the data of certain Canadian citizens is protected and cannot be disclosed. If you handle Canadian data (i.e., data that is protected), then you had better be sure it is not physically located on systems in the U.S. Note that this is something providers will need to ensure via contracts.

Google Chrome on Ubuntu (well, sort of)

Most of us already know that one of the fastest browser out there is Google Chrome. Sadly enough, Google Chrome is only available on Windows platform, while the Mac and Linux users are left to run Safari or Firefox. The good thing is that Google has listened to those requests and are currently developing the native version of Chrome to Mac and Linux.

But for those who can’t wait, there is a way to get Chromium (the open-source platform on which Google Chrome is based). Here are the steps (originally taken from here):

First you need to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file:

     sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Add add the following lines if you are using Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala):

     deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
     deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main

Save and exit the file.

Now add the GPG key using the following command:

     sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 0xfbef0d696de1c72ba5a835fe5a9bf3bb4e5e17b5

Update the source list using the following command:

     sudo apt-get update

Then you can install chromium using the following command:

     sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

After a successful installation, you can open chromium from Applications—>Internet—>Chromium Web Browser:
[singlepic id=261 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Here’s a sample picture of what Chromium looks like on Ubuntu:
[singlepic id=262 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Alternatively, there’s a script created by Jeff Rader to automate the installation of Chromium. His script can be downloaded here. Do not forget to change the permission to executable before running the script.

Enjoy!

10 Most Useful Google Plugins for WordPress

Original post is located here.

WordPress is a great and most popular blogging platform for it possibility to extend functions with plugins. WordPress Plugins make blogging easier for all of us who have chosen WordPress as our content management system. This time we want to present you 10 Most Useful Google Plugins for WordPress.

Google is best known as a search engine and Internet giant, but this time we will check what Google can offer for WordPress users. This post lists the most useful WordPress plugins related to Google starting from XML Sitemaps and ending with FeedBurner subscribers counter.

We also are using some of listed plugins like Google XML Sitemaps, Google Analyticator or FeedBurnerCount.

1. Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will create a Google sitemaps compliant XML-Sitemap of your WordPress blog. It supports all of the WordPress generated pages as well as custom ones. Everytime you edit or create a post, your sitemap is updated and all major search engines that support the sitemap protocol, like ASK.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO, are notified about the update.

2. Google Analyticator

Google Analyticator easily adds Google Analytics tracking support to a WordPress-powered blog. Google Analyticator also comes with an easily customizable widget that can be used to display specific information that is gathered by Google Analytics using the Google Analytics API.

3. Google Analytics for WordPress

This plugin adds the possibility to tag and segment all outgoing links, so you can see whether a click came from a comment or an article. It also adds the possibility to track just the domain, instead of the complete link, so you get a better view of how much traffic you’re sending where.

4. Google Website Optimizer for WordPress

This simple plugin lets you optimize your landing pages (as posts or pages) using the Google Website Optimizer without needing to edit the HTML code of the theme.

5. Google Doc Embedder

Google Doc Embedder will allow you to embed a PDF, PowerPoint (PPT), or TIFF file directly into your page or post, not requiring the user to have Adobe Reader, PowerPoint, or other software installed to view the contents.

6. Easy AdSense

Easy AdSense provides a very easy way to generate revenue from your blog using Google AdSense. With its full set of features, Easy AdSense is perhaps the first plugin to give you a complete solution for everything AdSense-related.

7. XML Google Maps

This plugin allows you to easily insert Google Map or Google Earth Plugin Maps into your blog.

8. Google AJAX Translation

The Google AJAX Translation WordPress plugin provides a quick, simple, and light way to add translation to your blog. A “Translate” button can be added to the bottom or top of posts, pages, and/or comments.

9. Google Custom Search Plugin

The default search engine that ships with WordPress is not the best search engine and bloggers every where should make the switch to WordPress Google Custom Search plugin. This plugin is a drop in replacement and works with minimum hassle.

10. FeedBurnerCount

A well-optimized and reliable plugin that connects to the FeedBurner Awareness API to retrieve your readers count, that you can print out in plain text.

As for me, I have been using Google XML Sitemap and Google Analytics for WordPress. Might want to try the other plugins when I have the chance to do so. 🙂

5 Excellent Downloadable eBooks To Teach Yourself Linux

Today I found this information about Linux books, that I think is worth sharing. The original link is here.

linux-penguinSo you have heard of all the advantages and geeky babble about how Linux is better and you have finally decided to try it? Just one thing, you don’t know an awful lot about Linux to get you started. How about some free downloadable ebooks to teach yourself Linux, that you can download today? Would that help?

Free – you ask? Yes, free. Welcome to the world of Linux where things are free both as in free speech and also as in free beer (mostly)!

If you are starting out on your journey towards Linux awesomeness, here are a few free downloadable ebooks to teach yourself Linux that should help you along nicely:

Newbie’s Getting Started Guide to Linux

(Download)

muolinuxMakeUseOf’s very own Newbie’s Guide to Linux, tells you how to choose a distribution and then teaches you how to perform a basic Linux install. You can then use the guide to familiarize yourself with the Linux desktop and some basic commands.

Stefan did a great job in keeping it simple and to the point, the way beginners want it. Also don’t forget to check out our other MakeUseOf Manuals.

Introduction to Linux – A Hands on Guide

(Download)

handsonTakes you from the absolute basics to basics. This hands on guide tells you everything right from logging in, basic file management, backup techniques up to basics of networking. It is what you need if you are having difficulty figuring out how to get to that resume file you saved just now. The guide explains Linux file structure and introduces to basic commands and text editors as well.

GNU/Linux Command line tools Summary

(Download)

toolsummaryOne important aspect of working in Linux is that you have to familiar with the command line. This book shows you how to use the command line in Linux to your advantage. Apart from the ins and outs of the shell, this book also introduces various commands and the situations where you would use them. There are chapters that deal with specific tasks and list various commands you can use to achieve the task. If you can study online, there is another excellent manual you can refer to.

Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference

(Download)

ubuntuprgUbuntu is one of the most popular distributions, new users look up to when trying out Linux. If it is Ubuntu specific information that you are after then you should definitely check out Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference. The guide takes you from installing and configuring Ubuntu to adding and managing software and securing your system. A must read book if you use Ubuntu.

Rute User’s Tutorial and Exposition

(Download)

ruteThis one is not for the faint hearted! There is enough Linux juice in this book to keep even the intermediate to advanced users interested. The book begins humbly by presenting the basic commands and tools, however before you know it, you are learning everything from regular expressions to shell scripting to C programming to networking.

There is plenty of great material out there if you are trying to learn Linux, similar to these downloadable ebooks to teach yourself everything you ever wanted to know about Linux. If you have read a book or a tutorial that you found particularly useful, feel free to tell us about it in the comments below.

10 Unknown but Useful Linux Terminal Commands

The original post was here.

Before, I have posted here a few basic Linux terminal commands that I think are essential for newbies to know. I’ve also shared some deadly ones that should be avoided at all costs. This time, I’m going to show you several terminal commands that are perhaps unfamiliar to many new-to-Linux users but could be really handy when used properly.

Here’s a list of 10 rather unknown yet useful Linux terminal commands:

1. Kill a running application by its name:
      killall [app_name]

2. Display disk space usage:
      df –h

3. Locate the installation directories of a program:
      whereis [app]

4. Mount an .iso file:
      mount /path/to/file.iso /mnt/cdrom –o loop

5. Record or capture a video of your desktop:
      ffmpeg -f x11grab -s wxga -r 25 -i :0.0 -sameq /tmp/out.mpg

6. Find out the Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) of your partitions:
      ls /dev/disk/by-uuid/ -alh

7. Show the top ten running processes (sorted by memory usage):
      ps aux | sort -nrk 4 | head

8. Make an audible alarm when an IP address goes online:
      ping -i 60 -a IP_address

9. Run the last command as root:
      sudo !!

10. Make a whole directory tree with one command:
      mkdir -p tmp/a/b/c

Note: There are some problems on doing number 9 above, so you may want to try it out and let me know.

Top 18 most downloaded WordPress plugins ever

I found this information from del.icio.us today, and I think it has pretty good information to be shared. The original post is located here.

[singlepic id=203 w=150 h=100 float=left]WordPress 2.8 is about to be released. WordPress is my favourite blogging platform and my blog runs on it. It has more than 13 million users in total and the self-hosted WordPres.org has been downloaded more than 5 million times.

Plugins are a big part of the WordPress community. Over the years I have used many of the WordPress plugins. WordPress plugins help you make a better blog and get more reader interaction. There are in total 4,245 plugins and these have been downloaded 22,152,788 times.

This post is a tribute to the top 18 most downloaded WordPress plugins ever (Akismet is not included as it comes with the default WordPress installation). Each of these 18 has been downloaded a minimum of 200,000 times.

  1. All in One SEO Pack – Automatically optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization) – Downloads 1,603,368
  2. Google XML Sitemaps – Create a Google sitemaps compliant XML-Sitemap of your WordPress blog – Downloads 954,459
  3. NextGEN Gallery – A full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with a Flash slideshow option – Downloads 715,819
  4. WordPress.com Stats – You can have simple, concise stats with no additional load on your server by plugging into WordPress.com’s stat system – Downloads 712,71
  5. WP Super Cache – A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files – Downloads 492,637
  6. Contact Form 7 – Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible – Downloads 393,916
  7. WordPress Automatic upgrade – Allows a user to automatically upgrade the WordPress installation to the latest one – Downloads 288,600
  8. Sociable – Automatically adds links to your favorite social bookmarking sites to your posts, pages and RSS feed – Downloads 284,117
  9. Viper’s Video Quicktags – Allows easy and XHTML valid posting of videos from various websites such as YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo, and more – Downloads 254,807
  10. Simple Tags – The successor of Simple Tagging Plugin and is THE perfect tool to perfectly manage your WP tags – Downloads 254,353
  11. WP-DB-Backup – On-demand backup of your WordPress database – Downloads 250,795
  12. Google Analytics for WordPress – Adds the necessary JavaScript code to enable Google Analytics – Downloads 239,837
  13. Google Analyticator – Same as the one above, enables Google Analytics tracking – Downloads 229,970
  14. Add to Any: Share/Bookmark/Email Button – Helps readers share, save, bookmark, and email your posts and pages using any service, such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious and over 100 more – Downloads 226,056
  15. WP-Polls – Adds an AJAX poll system to your WordPress blog. You can also easily add a poll into your WordPress’s blog post / page – Downloads 222,196
  16. Sidebar Widgets – Adds “Sidebar Widgets” panel under Presentation menu – Downloads 221,024
  17. podPress – A dream plugin for podcasters using WordPress – Downloads 207,491
  18. WP-PageNavi – Adds a more advanced paging navigation your WordPress blog – Downloads 204,005

“Wordpress Automatic upgrade” and “Sidebar Widgets” are the classics which are no longer needed as they are a part of WordPress now.

From the top 18 plugins I currently only use Google XML Sitemaps, WP Super Cache and Contact Form 7 on my blog. All in one SEO Pack and Google Analytics are also very important but my Thesis theme has these functions built-in.

What do you think about the wisdom of the crowds in case of WordPress plugins? Are these the best plugins? Do you still use any of them?

Note: As for me, I use 9 of these plugins, including NextGEN Gallery, All-in-one SEO, WP-SuperCache and Sociable. In addition to the above list, I also use cforms II plugin for creating feedback forms.

Update (14 Jul 2010) : I have deactivated Sociable, and use three new plugins: Tweetmeme, WP Google-Buzz, and FaceBook Share. Those are pretty much the ones people are using to share links anyway these days. 🙂